Warm welcome to a new school era

Headmaster Jim Keefe welcomes KEQMS year six pupil Catriona Roy and her mum Rosemary
Headmaster Jim Keefe welcomes KEQMS year six pupil Catriona Roy and her mum Rosemary
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A HEADMASTER who suffered a vicious bleach attack returned to work to welcome parents to a newly-formed private school.

Jim Keefe, from Arnold School, suffered the terrifying ordeal on the doorstep of his South Shore home earlier this month.

Police say the merger between Arnold School and the St Annes based King Edward and Queen Mary School (KEQMS) is an “important line of inquiry” in ongoing investigations.

Mr Keefe refused to comment on the attack at the school’s first open day on Saturday but said he remained “positive” about the changes.

He said: “I’ve been delighted with the numbers that have come today to see the vision of AKS.

“I’m really excited about the coming months and creating a really special school which at its heart will hold the traditions of two excellent schools.

“We hope to announce plans for a £6.2m investment before Christmas.

“And I would encourage any parent with concerns to come and talk to us about what we are trying to do.”

In September The Gazette revealed how Arnold School would leave its Lytham Road home to move to St Annes as part of a shock merger with KEQMS.

The announcement outraged a number of parents but at the open day the overall mood was positive.

Parent, Sara Clayton, 38, of Blackpool, says she is happy with the merger.

She said: “I think it is a lovely school with a really nice feel to it, the building is beautiful and with numbers at both schools dwindling it is a no brainer to merge them together.”

Jennifer and Duncan Taylor have two sons, Matthew, 16 and James, 13, at Arnold School. They say merging the schools is a great idea.

Mrs Taylor said: “We think the building is in a lovely setting and as long as they can accommodate the pupils it will be a great asset to the Fylde coast.

Silke Engelbart, 48, has a 13-year-old son, Jan.

She said: “This is the first time I have looked around the new site and I think it is very nice, I like it.”

Andrew and Samantha Thrave, of Poulton, said they have no concerns about sending their 13-year-old son Oliver to the school.

Founded in 1896, Arnold School was taken over in 2008 by the United Church Schools Trust (UCST).

But as of next September all 700 of Arnold School’s pupils will transfer to the Clifton Drive South school site – though it is not yet clear what will happen to the historic school buildings.